09.18.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Debian’s Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

Posted in Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux at 2:04 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

On a daily basis now, people ask questions that remind volunteers about the leadership problems in Debian. When we visit free software events or any other free software community, it comes up frequently.

It is a horrible situation. When people remind us about the vindictive emails sent by Chris Lamb in September 2018, there is nothing positive to say. It puts us in a position where there is no response other than asking them to question Lamb’s credibility. As Lamb was leader of the project at that time, this inevitably rubs off on Debian as a community.

When people realize issues like these relate to volunteers’ private lives and have nothing to do with their competence as Debian Developers, they quickly apologize for intruding. On those occasions when Lamb’s victims have explained the situation to people in any detail, the colour of their faces has visibly changed, demonstrating an acute combination of sadness and anger at the way certain people in the Debian community, including the former leader, have behaved.

People have asked why nobody tried to speak to Lamb. In fact, people tried. He lives in London, some Debian Developers are visiting there regularly. At least one has written to him numerous times to suggest a meeting: it is Lamb who always refused.

Between September and December 2018, attempts were made to set up a meeting with other volunteers. They either didn’t respond or declined. Yet more and more reports of Lamb’s gossipmongering came back to us.

In an earlier blog, we revealed that one of the challenges faced by a volunteer was the death of his father. People simply can’t understand why Lamb and his sidekicks would be undermining another Debian Developer, involved in the community for more than twenty years, at such a difficult time.

It is not easy to reduce a subject like that to a blog post. More details of volunteers’ private lives can’t be disclosed without violating the privacy of third parties. Yet one of Lamb’s missed opportunities as a leader is that he expected everything to be reduced to email or IRC. So he remained completely out of touch.

Nobody chose to have their private life and professional life interconnected in this way. It was imposed on them by somebody who had the title of leader in an organization of 1,000 Developers but had dedicated more time to covering up his girlfriend’s blunders than anything else.

That brings us to another point: is everybody who has a public profile in the free software community going to be subject to similar attacks and criticism at a time of personal tragedy? GSoC and Outreachy mentors frequently observe the challenges newcomers go through making their first commit on a public repository or their first post to a mailing list. Many of them would never have done so if they saw what volunteers have been put through by rogue elements of the Debian community.

Ultimately, as the leader created a state of hostility through inappropriate gossip, the only real solution is for the current leader of the project to publicly and unconditionally denounce the gossip and put these issues to rest for once and for all.


Also reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

Many people noticed Debian Developers have started making wholesale leaks of material from debian-private.

This finishes off the same year where we saw the death of Lucy Wayland, the cover-up of a controversial $300,000 donation from Google and the blackmailing of Norbert Preining.

What these divisions demonstrate is a maturity gap. The cabals running the project have never really grown up. Like a 15-year-old who receives a Ferrari for his birthday, the Debian Account Managers are not mature enough to handle the power associated with their positions.

Anybody familiar with the content of debian-private can see this is true: some leadership figures who have been in the project for decades are still behaving the same way that they did in the nineteen nineties yet we are about to begin 2020.

Another key reason for division is the rise of the Mollies. There is a hidden message in Molly de Blanc’s fateful FOSDEM talk, where she boasts about humiliating people just days after the death of Lucy Wayland. The missing piece of the puzzle, leaked during DebConf, is that Molly was dating the Debian Project Leader, Chris Lamb. Lamb had become frustrated with day-to-day leadership responsibilities and wanted to stick to more prestigious things, like the invitation to the Cambridge University Dept of Computer Science. When other members of the community ran into problems, Lamby had simply handed them off to his girlfriend, de Blanc, for her sinister social experiments, which she was gloating about at FOSDEM. The Mollies used other volunteers in Debian like lab rats, refining nefarious techniques like misquoting people and gaslighting. They subsequently applied these skills to take down Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF.

Many organizations invest significant time and money preparing their managers to handle the responsibility of a major leadership role. Debian doesn’t. Lamb and de Blanc’s handling of certain situations demonstrate the consequences.

Many of us have been to leadership seminars organized by our employers from time to time. Nobody can ever recall one where the presenter delves into whispering networks, demotions and expulsions, mocking people present at the event itself. The human relations philosophy espoused by de Blanc can be summarized in one word: cyberbullying.

Yet as developers mature, some were able to see this maturity gap and either became frustrated with the project or quit. The cabal leaders haven’t listened to these people, even continuing one of their experiments on a volunteer who’s father recently died. With such extraordinary arrogance, it is no wonder that some people have gone beyond quitting and started to make those wholesale leaks.


Also reprinted with permission from Debian Community News (partially reproduced)

There is a thread about impeaching Bruce Perens although it is not nearly as gripping as the impeachment of Donald Trump.

At the time, Perens had publicly stated:

That’s our little private mailing list where the package developers make fun of you without your being able to see it :-)

That comment was probably not intended to be taken too seriously. Unfortunately, it has come to define the Debian organization for over 20 years since then.

In a more recent episode on debian-private, somebody made an unpleasant remark about another free software developer who isn’t in Debian. When challenged about this backstab, another Debian Developer dismissed the concerns:

They won’t see these comments, that’s the whole point of -private. People can talk more freely in here than usual.

debian-private is a mailing list including over 1,000 Debian Developers who all work in different companies around the world. To pretend this is a private means of communication is a farce.

The former Debian Project Leader’s girlfriend, Molly de Blanc, promotes whispering networks in her talk at FOSDEM 2019. Feminists have worked hard to eliminate terms like toxic woman. Sadly, de Blanc’s antics have given the term a new lease on life.

Debian’s public mailing lists include huge threads preaching about codes of conduct, such as this in December 2019. The mentality of operating debian-private and the things that leadership figures write there contradict all of that.

When the leaders of the organization and key figures in the cabal behave abusively in what they consider to be a safe space, it is completely unreasonable to be upset at other developers for the tone of things they write anywhere else. Human behaviour is often a good reflection of the leadership.

Improving leadership standards and diversity both require real acts of leadership and transparency, not Molly’s call-to-gossip. The leaking of this particular material, if it is intended to undermine confidence in debian-private, could be classed as a leadership act.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft Staff Trying to Subvert the Freedom of Gemini (Without Disclosure of the Paymaster)

    Looking back at the past couple of years, it seems like Microsoft staff and boosters were more than eager to steer developers away from freedom and into Microsoft's cage



  2. Gemini Gone Mainstream: German Media Now in Geminispace

    With the likes of TAZ embracing Geminispace/Gemini Protocol we seem to have reached some sort of inflection point; taz.de did in fact add official presence to Geminispace



  3. Links 28/1/2022: LSFMM 2022 and 2021 UI Study Results From Elementary's Distro

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 27, 2022



  5. Links 28/1/2022: GNU Poke 2.0 and OPNsense 22.1 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Archinstall 2.3.1 and Nix 2.6.0

    Links for the day



  7. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  8. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  9. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  11. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  12. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  13. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  14. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  15. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  16. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  17. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  18. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  19. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  21. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  22. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  23. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  24. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  25. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  26. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  27. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  28. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  30. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts